Banfield soaking up more game time
Walyalup (Fremantle) forward Bailey Banfield has attributed his career-best form to a consistent role in the team.
The pressure forward officially featured 23 times last year but his game time was limited by regularly being used as the medical substitute, including in five games where he did not take the field.
Banfield told Sports Breakfast playing full games was “definitely a lot easier”.
“I don’t think I [had] played more than three games in a row since my first year, so that’s a long time not to have that consistent footy,” Banfield said.
“To have that belief that you’re able to do it at AFL level can be quite hard to come by when the results aren’t going your way and everything’s telling you that maybe you’re not good enough because you’re in and out of the team.
“This year, to be able to string a couple of games together has been really nice. I think the scars from previous years definitely still keep me on my toes and I’m always worried about getting dropped.”
Banfield’s uptick in performance has coincided with a form turnaround for the Dockers, who have put a slow start to the season behind them with wins in their last three games.
The 25-year-old said the streak was being fuelled by the players building on their connection.
“I think it started with the Brisbane game, to be honest. We obviously still lost that game, but we did a lot right and I think we started to feel that magic from last year,”
“We’ve started to play our footy, I think the first month or two, we didn’t play our footy, it wasn’t what we were expecting, it wasn’t the way we wanted to play.
“We’ve been able to build that belief and confidence over the last three weeks and hopefully we can keep the ball rolling against Naarm (Melbourne), and go into the bye on a real high.”
A Broome product by way of Claremont in the WAFL, Banfield said he was delighted to see his state league club taking a game up to the town, with the Tigers heading north to take on East Fremantle this Saturday.
“[They are] pretty lucky going up this time of year, it’ll be absolutely beautiful up there,” he said.
“It’s beautiful, it’s sunny, might be a little bit warm, but the conditions will be perfect. The boys will hopefully put on a show and Claremont will get the win as well.”
The WAFL game in Broome gets underway at 2:05 pm, while the clash between the Dockers and the Demons bounces down at 12:10 pm WA time at the MCG.